In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Divine Chocolate, the only farmer-owned, Fair Trade chocolate brand, encourages chocolate lovers to use a $1 coupon to treat themselves to a bar of delicious Divine Chocolate. For every coupon redeemed, Divine will invest a dollar into Kuapa Kokoo’s Women’s Fund in support of small-scale cocoa farming communities in Ghana. Another reason women think chocolate is Divine. The coupons are available on Facebook and in retail outlets nationally.
Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa supplier after the Ivory Coast. Kuapa Kokoo is a Ghanaian farmer’s cooperative whose 45,000 members own 45% of Divine Chocolate and supply the cocoa for each chocolate bar. The role of women in Kuapa Kokoo is significant, and growing. Women participate in all aspects of decision making, and hold leadership roles in the co-op. 2011 marks the first year that the co-op members elected a female president, Christiana Ohene Agyare.
The Kuapa Kokoo Women’s Fund increases economic security for cocoa farming families. Through the fund created by the International Women’s Day promotion, the women will be able to fund training for their members to set up and run small businesses that can generate income during times of the year that cocoa farming does not. The fund supports training in batik making, soap making, small gardens, and other community enterprises traditionally run by women. It also offers small business loans through the co-op’s credit union.
'Today, I am a proud owner of a 5 -acre farm. Last season, I was able to harvest about twenty bags of cocoa. I was elected a recorder of my society about three years ago,” said Fatima Ali, cocoa farmer and member of the National Executive Council of Kuapa Kokoo. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could hold such position. I am a woman and also very young but because of the training I have received from Kuapa Kokoo, I just know that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.”
Divine will offer several opportunities throughout the promotion to interact with Kuapa's women farmers, like Fatima, through their Facebook page.
Coupons are available through participating Ten Thousand Villages stores, Fair Trade Towns USA participating natural markets/cooperatives, Green America, and online at Divine Chocolate’s Facebook page. The promotion will start on International Women’s Day and run throughout the spring season.
Farmer-ownership sets Divine Chocolate apart. This unusual business model in which farmers own almost 50% of the company gives farmers increased social, political and economic clout and a greater voice in the global cocoa market. Empowering women farmers creates stronger cocoa farming communities, as people throughout all of Kuapa Kokoo’s societies, or villages, benefit from increased opportunities for education, health care, additional income, and access to information that can help families, women and children thrive.
About Divine Chocolate
Divine Chocolate is the first farmer-owned Fair Trade chocolate brand. Divine Chocolate produces a range of bars and seasonal chocolates available in grocery and specialty stores across the US such as Whole Foods Market, Cost Plus World Market, Wegman’s, Fred Meyer, and online at BuyDivine.com.The company is co-owned by the thousands of small-scale cocoa farmers of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Cooperative in Ghana. Kuapa Kokoo is one of the oldest and most well established Fair Trade cocoa cooperatives. The co-op’s motto is 'Pa Pa Paa' which means 'the best of the best'. Divine’s mission is to improve the lives of West African cocoa farmers through farmer-ownership of a high-quality chocolate brand. Farmer-ownership leads to increased power and representation within the cocoa market, social, economic and political empowerment, enhanced women's participation, and environmentally sustainable production processes. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.